One of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime is how to best protect your assets and loved ones after you die. For many people, this means creating a will. However, there are several advantages to using a trust instead.
What is a Will?
A will is a document that allows an individual to dictate how their property will be distributed after they die. Without a will, the state will decide how to distribute the deceased individual's assets, which may not be in line with their wishes. A will can also be used to appoint a guardian for minor children.
After your passing, the will must go through probate, which is a legal process that ensures the will is valid and that all debts and taxes are paid before assets are distributed to beneficiaries. If an individual dies without a will, their estate will still go through probate, but the state will determine how to distribute their assets.
An estate planning attorney can help individuals understand their options and make sure their wishes are carried out after they die.
What is a Trust?
A trust is a legal arrangement in which one person (the trustee) holds property on behalf of another person (the beneficiary). Trusts are often created as part of estate planning, as they can help to reduce taxes and ensure that assets are distributed according to the creator's wishes. There are many different types of trusts, but all share a common purpose: to provide financial security for the beneficiaries.
When a trust is created, the person creating the trust (the trustor or settlor) will transfer ownership of their property to the trust. The trustee will then hold and manage the property for the benefit of the beneficiary. The trustor can be the same person as the trustee or beneficiary, but this is not always the case.
Trusts can be either revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust can be canceled or amended by the settlor at any time, while an irrevocable trust cannot be changed once it has been created.
Advantages of a Trust Over a Will
While both trusts and wills can be useful tools for estate planning, there are some advantages of using a trust over a will.
Trusts can avoid probate. A will must go through probate, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process. Probate is a court-supervised process that distributes your assets after you pass away. With a trust, your assets can be distributed without going through probate. This means your beneficiaries will receive their inheritance much sooner.
Trusts are private. A will is a public document, which means that anyone can access it and see how you have decided to distribute your assets. A trust is a private document, so only the beneficiaries will know what is in it. This can provide peace of mind for those who want to keep their affairs private.
Trusts give control. A trust gives you more control over how and when your beneficiaries will receive their inheritance. For example, you can specify that they will only receive it when they reach a certain age or get married. This flexibility can be helpful in ensuring that your assets are used the way you want them to be.
Contact a Milwaukee Estate Planning Attorney
Making sure your affairs are in order is one of the most responsible things you can do for yourself and your loved ones.
Attorneys at Heritage Law Office can help you plan for the future with our estate planning services. We will work with you to develop an estate plan that suits your unique needs and ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes. We can also help you plan for inheritance taxes, designate beneficiaries, and avoid probate.
Contact us today at 414-253-8500 to learn more about how we can help you protect your estate.